School Counselor Connection

Tips for Success Vol 8, April 2021

Focus: Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and May will be here before you know it! This newsletter is dedicated to provide you with resources you might find helpful to plan and prepare schoolwide activities, provide educational resources for staff and families, and access ready to go tools to promote and support the mental health wellbeing of yourself, your staff, families and students!

California Student Mental Health Week (CSMHW)

The Second Week in May (May 10-14, 2021) is California Student Mental Health Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of PreK-12th grade students' mental health needs. During this week, many groups across the state are encouraged to share campaign resources aimed at bringing attention to factors related to mental health and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

CASC is the sponsoring organization for a legislative action to commemorate this week. Over the next few weeks, they will be sharing information on events, links to free professional development webinars, and a CASC-created Mental Health Week Toolkit. Visit CASC Website for information and links to resources in the next few days and weeks!


  • Organizations and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to proclaim the second week in May (May 10-14, 2001) as California Student Mental Health Week by adopting a proclamation declaring support for California Student Mental Health.
  • LEAs and other agencies to introduce a narrative around mental health that is student centered.
  • LEAs and community organizations utilize CASC Toolkit of activities that includes informational displays, social media posts and sample lessons on mental health facts and issues.
  • LEAs to educate parents and school staff on key psychological factors associated with mental distress and where to seek help.

Mental Health Toolkits

Below you have access to three excellent resources to help you plan your Mental Health Awareness Month activities. Toolkits include fact sheets, self-help worksheets, mental health assessments, posters, activities and so much more! Click on image to access each toolkit.

Shifting our Mindset About Mental Health

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word mental health? Often times, our minds automatically default to think about mental illness when we hear the word mental health. This month, I invite you to focus on promoting the protective factors of mental health, as well as to normalize the conversation of mental health by bringing awareness of what mental health looks like throughout the continuum.

Healing and Building Resilience...

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns.

Before we can effectively attend to our students' mental health needs, we need to ensure we take care of our own mental health needs!




Take Action:

Mindfulness Resources: πŸ“„ ⏯

Supporting Student Mental Health

The Role of the School Counselor in Student Mental Health

ASCA Position Statement: School Counselor Role and Student Mental Health

Universal Supports: Awareness, Education and Prevention

Engage your students and families through:

Supplemental Supports: Identify and support students who need an additional level through direct service, collaboration, consultation, and/or referral

Intensified Supports: Support few students who need additional level of individualized focus to manage their mental health needs through close monitoring, collaboration, and referral

The following images are hyperlinked, and provide you with guidance on how the school counselor's effort and approach can be aligned to support students throughout the continuum.

Big picture

Engaging Students and Fostering a Sense of Belonging Culture

As you begin to plan your programs, keep in mind how might you include activities that help foster student sense of belonging, build relationships, support their social emotional learning skills, and elevate student voice. Below are some resources to help you get there!



Tools/ Resources:


Resources for Students & Parents

Help for Students in Crisis Web page This page contains important hotlines, text lines, and resources for students who are having difficulty coping or just want to talk. It is important to communicate these lines are not only for crisis, but they can also be used by anyone who needs to talk, by parents/guardians who are concerned about their children, or anyone who is not sure how about behaviors they are seeing or experiencing. πŸ’»

Parent Brochure English: This printable brochure includes questions parents can ask themselves to assess if their teen might be at risk of suicide and actions to take. Tips on raising resilient teens as well as resources are provided. πŸ“„

CASEL Resources for Parents: An informational video by CASEL and Chicago Public Schools for parents on social and emotional learning (SEL). The video aims to inform parents on SEL in schools and provide them with insights on SEL in their own parenting practices in order to support their children’s social and emotional know-how. Funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Produced by: First Gear Productions. Also available in Spanish.CASEL (2017). SEL for parents. Chicago Public Schools, McCormick Foundation, Marshall Square Resource Network. πŸ’» ⏯

View the video in English.
View the video in Spanish.

COVID-19/ Virtual Learning Resources:

Resources to Build your Program

Inform Your Community: πŸ’»πŸ“„

Ready to Use Lesson Plans/Material: πŸ“„

Additional Resources to Inform your Practice:

  • Orange County Youth Town Hall: learn from Orange County students directly about how the pandemic has impacted them. (Recording here ⏯; Power Point here πŸ“„)
  • Orange County, California - Orange County Children's Partnership (OCCP)

    Access the 26th Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County which was featured during the Town Hall main session. πŸ“„

  • Mental Health Quality Guide: Screening by National Center for School Mental Health and the University of Maryland School of Medicine- learn all there is to know about screening πŸ’»
  • Turnaround for Children: Stress and the Brain: read more about how stress impacts a child's brain.πŸ“„
  • RESET Toolbox Western Youth Services (WYS), a Laguna Hills-based nonprofit, developed an online resource for teachers and parents to proactively engage with children to treat the secondary effects of the pandemic that are responsible for childhood trauma β€” housing and food insecurity, disrupted education and lack of socializing.β€œ WYS rolled out the RESET Toolbox about a year ago and it is available to anyone online. Includes audio training, books, applications and other resources geared toward helping children cope with the emotional hurdles of the pandemic in Orange County. WYS is collaborating with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the Orange County Department of Education for the RESET Toolbox. The effort is partly funded by CARES Act money. πŸ’»
  • Resources for Elementary Level Students: Resources to support mental well-being of younger students. πŸ“„
  • ASCA Online Crisis Protocol πŸ’»
ASCA Article Worth Checking Out!

Be careful when surveying pupils, and ensure you do not violate the law.

OCDE Support and Resources

Instructional Continuity Website- find resources to support your students and families during distance learning.

OCDE Newsroom and Updates

Be Calm Session- guided meditations led by Dr. Vezzuto

Crisis Response Network:

Jennifer Ponce, MSW, CHES, Program Specialist

Family Engagement Program:

Sheree Newman, Program Specialist

Social & Emotional Learning:

Colleen Ferreira, M.Ed., Coordinator

Restorative Practice:

Toby Jean Espley M.Ed., Coordinator

McKinney Vento Homeless Information & Support:

Jeanne Awrey, Coordinator

​Student Services (CWA/SARB):

Terrance Dunn, M.Ed., Coordinator

Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program:

Raina K Lee, Coordinator

Luz M. Arellano, Ed.D

K-12 School Counseling Services Coordinator

Educational Services

Orange County Department of Education

Previous SCC Newsletters HERE